No doubt you’ve heard of Meatless Monday, even Taco Tuesday for that matter. But come to my house any Sunday from fall to spring, and you’ll find another celebration: Souper Sunday. Soup, in other words, is the star of this show, and it’s become a coveted tradition for me and my husband, even friends and family when they get the invite.
Soup as a meal? It’s a question I’ve jokingly debated with folks throughout the years, some say ‘No way,’ no matter what the soup. Of course, I disagree, but that’s not to say that at times, I don’t add a sidekick or two to the soup.
My plant-based palate tends to prefer soups with at least one type of bean, if not more, so much that my husband wonders how many more bean soup recipes there could possibly be in this world. If I’m serving a lower-calorie or less-filling soup, I’ll pair it with a salad and often, a crusty piece of bread.
What I love about this tradition isn’t so much that soup warms you from the inside, something those of us in winter climates certainly appreciate, but it is a great way to up the ante of veggies, legumes, even whole grains, herbs and spices in your diet.
Want to start your own Souper Sunday tradition? I’ve put together a few strategies from my 20-plus years of having Souper Sunday so you can ladle them into your own celebration:
- Pre-cook dried beans: I am not a big fan of canned foods. I prefer to buy dried beans, which are cheaper than canned, and cook them ahead of time. Once they’re cooked and have cooled, place them in freezer-safe zip-top bags – I prefer to bag each as the equivalent of one can — and store them in the freezer. A good rule of thumb: 1.5 cups of cooked dried beans equals one can. Of course canned beans are a convenient option.
- Put ugly produce to good use: Soup can be a great way to use ugly produce or produce that’s about to turn ugly. After all, you don’t want to contribute any more to food waste than you have to. I always check the fridge before going to the store to pick up new ingredients. I’ve often created soups solely based on this ugly produce. Ugly soup? Why not?
- Experiment with spices: Don’t be afraid to add seasoning and spices to soups, which can up the flavor of your soup and be a game changer in winning folks over to a plant-based meal.
- Save Saturday for cooking: Even though I serve the soup on Sunday, I like to prepare it on Saturday. Like other dishes, soup usually tastes better after the flavors have had a chance to blend longer.
- Cook enough for leftovers: Souper Sunday in my house is repeated on Meatless Monday, making soup a great way to save time in the long run. Best part about soup? Many soups can be easily frozen. I not only freeze any leftovers from two days of soup but also often double a recipe and store the extras in the freezer. On nights when I don’t have time to cook, that soup is a welcome relief.
To inspire your Souper Sunday take a look at our oil-free soup recipes.